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Classic WoW – The Controversy Around Cash Shops and Level Boosting

If you’ve not been following the latest news on Classic WoW, then you might be unaware of this latest controversy.

If you follow the Classic WoW fandom, you’ll know that they are passionate about “no changes”. Put simply, “no changes” is a philosophy that Classic World of Warcraft servers should be as close to the original game as possible. Most of these gamers played WoW back in the day and loved how the game looked and felt, and they want their experience in 2021 to mirror that feeling as close as possible. There have been some compromises on “no changes” along the way, though. For example, many players are happy for Blizzard to get rid of spell-batching in Classic The Burning Crusade (grouping interactions like attacks, buffs, and debuffs and processing them in one go).

Where players remain firm on “no changes” usually relate to things that either make the game easier or usher in a retail-style money-grab. While players understand that Blizzard is a company and needs to make money, a lot are uncomfortable with having cash shops and paid level boosts on Classic servers. They weren’t available in the original game, and some players worry introducing these elements will change the dynamic of Classic.

This argument has been revived because of some recent advances in Classic The Burning Crusade. Let’s start with the one we know for sure is happening – paid level boosts.

Level Boosts

Blizzard has announced that in Classic TBC, you will be able to level boost one character to level 58 and go straight through the portal to Outland. However, there are a few caveats to this. You won’t be able to level boost the new races (Blood Elf and Draenei); you’ll have to pay for the level boost, and you can only do it once. Some players are concerned about the impact this will have on the economy. However, others are much less concerned.

Level boosting is already thriving in Classic WoW, just through unofficial channels. Some players will pay to boost all of their characters to level 60 because they don’t have the time or energy to grind, and let’s be honest, leveling in Classic WoW is a grind. Blizzard’s level boosting is so narrow (only one character ever, not all races, and only to level 58) that it’s unlikely to have a huge effect on boosting. You can bet that players will still be using marketplaces like Eldorado to for WoW Classic boost their characters to 60 and beyond or buy WoW Classic account that already has all the requirements you need.

Don’t worry about level boosting. It’s existed in every version of WoW that’s ever launched, and it will be in TBC whether Blizzard offers it or not.

Cash Shops

This one hasn’t been confirmed, but a recent data-mine has got players talking. A mount called the Viridian Phase-Hunter, a Warpstalker mount, was data-mined from the Classic TBC client. This mount wasn’t in the original game, so the fact that it’s cropping up now is leading some players to speculate over how and why we would be getting this mount in TBC.

This has caused an enormous amount of controversy in both the “no changes” and “some changes” crowd. One of the biggest complaints about Retail WoW from the Classic WoW player base is that the Retail cash shop is out of hand. You can essentially buy a mount for every day of the year. And it doesn’t stop at mounts; you can buy almost anything on there like pets, toys, transmogs, bundles, and more. The Classic WoW crowd has made it clear they don’t want this kind of cash shop, or any cash shop, in the Classic game.

So, does this mount mean a cash shop is inevitable? No, not necessary. In World of Warcraft’s 16-year history, Blizzard has occasionally dropped mounts for special events without monetizing them. They will often tie mounts to the launch of other games. For example, if you buy a different Blizzard game about to launch or has just launched, you will get a themed mount for WoW. Is that what’s happening here? It’s very possible.

At BlizzConline (formerly BlizzCon), Blizzard’s annual event that was hosted online-only for the first time this year, they announced a new Hearthstone expansion. This expansion, called Hearthstone Forged in Barrens, is a Warcraft-themed expansion. That seems to tie in pretty well, doesn’t it? If we had to guess, we’d say that that’s exactly what Blizzard is planning to do. That’s not to say there will never be cash shops in the Classic versions of WoW. After all, we are talking about Blizzard, and they do love a cash shop. Still, it doesn’t look like it’s happening just yet.